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General Office Skills

Course Code: OADM 1244
Faculty: Commerce & Business Administration
Department: Office Administration
Credits: 3.0
Semester: 15 weeks
Learning Format: Lecture, Seminar
Typically Offered: TBD. Contact Department Chair for more info.
course overview

This course introduces students to the role of the office professional and human relations. It covers general office procedures such as effective telephone techniques, appointment booking, mail handling, ergonomics, office supply orders, inventories, organization, paper and electronic filing, bank reconciliations and handling petty cash. Students will become certified in WHMIS.

Course Content

Career as an Office Professional

  • Workplace trends
  • Employment profiles
  • Employment outlook

Health and Safety

  • WHMIS certification
    • Overview of WHMIS
      • Classification of controlled products
        • Class A: Compressed Gas
        • Class B: Flammable and Combustible Material
        • Class C: Oxidizing Material
        • Class D: Poisonous and Infectious Material
        • Class E: Corrosive Material
        • Class F: Dangerously Reactive Material
      • Products exempt from WHMIS
    • WHMIS Labels
      • Labelling controlled products
      • Supplier labels
      • Workplace labels
    • Material Safety Data Sheets
      • Information included on MSDS
      • Supplier responsibilities
      • Employer responsibilities
      • Ergonomics
        • definition of ergonomics
        • ergonomic considerations for the choice of furniture, equipment supplies, lighting and acoustics.
        • ergonomic organization of the work station and ergonomic habits at the workstation.
        • ergonomic habits and techniques to prevent injury at the workstation

Making Deposits, Bank Reconciliation and Petty Cash

  • preparing items for deposit and the deposit slip
  • preparing accurate bank reconciliation statements
  • preparing cheque recquisitions for payment
  • handling the petty cash fund
  • preparing petty cash vouchers, envelopes, and reports

Human Relations

  • identify functions of a human resource department
  • discuss relationship building and team work
  • identify interpersonal skills
  • discuss workplace ethics and office politics
  • identify ways to manage stress

Office Supplies

  • ordering office supplies
  • organizing office supplies
  • maintaining an inventory of office supplies

Telephone Skills

  • practising telephone communication skills
  • using voice mail
  • answering the telephone
  • using automated answering services
  • taking and distributing messages
  • explaining your manager’s absence
  • transferring calls
  • screening calls
  • placing local, long-distance calls, and international calls
  • using calling cards
  • placing and participating in conference calls

Procedures for Scheduling Appointments

  • guidelines for scheduling appointments
  • scheduling appointments made by telephone or email
  • scheduling appointments made by online clients
  • using online calendars
  • using paper calendars
  • changing appointments
  • listing appointments

Procedures for Handling Incoming and Outgoing Mail

handling incoming mail: sorting, opening, inspecting contents, date-time stamping, reading and annotating, presenting mail to manager, distributing and routing

  • completing an interdepartmental envelope
  • completing a routing slip
  • preparing an action-requested slip
  • preparing a mail expected record
  • preparing change of address forms and announcements
  • handling outgoing mail—Canada Post
    • domestic mail mailing options
    • dangerous goods
    • US and International mail
    • Canada Post requirements for addressing envelopes
    • metered mail
  • handling outgoing mail—other delivery options
    • courier services
    • airline services
    • bus express
    • freight shipments

Records Management Procedures

  • ARMA filing rules: alphabetic, subject, geographic and numeric
  • paper filing procedures: reviewing, indexing, coding, cross-referencing, sorting
  • filing correspondence alphabetically
    • advantages and disadvantages of an alphabetic filing system
  • filing correspondence in a geographic system
    • advantages and disadvantages of a geographic filing system
  • filing documents in a subject filing system
    • advantages and disadvantages of a subject filing system
  • filing documents in a numeric filing system
    • advantages and disadvantages of a numeric filing system
    • follow-up(tickler) systems: manual and electronic
    • requisition, charge-out and follow-up procedures
  • identifying filing equipment and supplies
    • Equipment
      • vertical cabinets
      • lateral file cabinets
      • shelf files
    • Supplies
      • Guides
      • File folders
      • Labels
      • Sorting strip
  • applying electronic filing procedures
    • file name conventions
    • designing a file system
    • setting up hierarchy of folders
    • filing electronic correspondence files in file folders

Methods of Instruction

Lecture and Seminar

Means of Assessment

Quizzes/Tests 20 - 40%
Final Exam 25 - 30%
Assignments (minimum of 2) 20 - 40%
Employability Skills (criterion based/assessed at least twice) 0 - 10%
WHMIS Certification 0%
TOTAL 100%

There are no assessments requiring oral presentations in this course.


Learning Outcomes

The learner has reliably demonstrated the ability to

  1. identify the skills and abilities of the office professional.
  2. complete WHMIS certification.
  3. describe how office ergonomics involve furniture, lighting, acoustics, position of equipment, and posture.
  4. discuss the importance human relations plays in the workplace.
  5. describe how to prepare cheques and make bank deposits, how to complete accurate bank reconciliation statements.
  6. use paper and electronic calendars to schedule and cancel appointments.
  7. demonstrate skills needed for effective use of the telephone.
  8. explain procedures for processing incoming and outgoing mail.
  9. order, organize and maintain an inventory of office supplies.
  10. define terminology used in records management.
  11. identify and explain the use of different types of filing equipment and filing supplies.
  12. index, code, cross-reference, and sort incoming letters and copies of outgoing letters for individuals, businesses and governments.
  13. store and retrieve documents applying ARMA rules in an alphabetic, a subject, a numeric and a geographical filing system.
  14. explain the advantages and disadvantages of each of these systems.
  15. maintain a tickler file.
  16. process “request-for-record: forms and charge-out requests”.
  17. explain follow-up procedures relating to overdue records.
  18. identify techniques involved in managing electronic records.

curriculum guidelines

Course Guidelines for previous years are viewable by selecting the version desired. If you took this course and do not see a listing for the starting semester/year of the course, consider the previous version as the applicable version.

course schedule and availability
course transferability

Below shows how this course and its credits transfer within the BC transfer system. 

A course is considered university-transferable (UT) if it transfers to at least one of the five research universities in British Columbia: University of British Columbia; University of British Columbia-Okanagan; Simon Fraser University; University of Victoria; and the University of Northern British Columbia.

For more information on transfer visit the BC Transfer Guide and BCCAT websites.


If your course prerequisites indicate that you need an assessment, please see our Assessment page for more information.